Longest Email of Life

It’s probably not the longest email ever written or sent, but today I put together a very long email.

Why this high word count email, you ask?  It’s a query letter, and that’s what the agency requested.

It’s got my query letter, the first ten pages of Dragon, a four-paragraph synopsis, and a brief bio of me, all in the body of the email.  That’s what the submission guidelines requested, so that’s what the email includes.

One of the two agencies that I’m querying begins accepting queries again tomorrow, so I’ve put together the emails today for submission tomorrow.  It’s always interesting to read agencies’ websites; everyone has different query requirements as well as different response times and policies.

I’ll hit the send button on both emails tomorrow.  Getting some queries sent is a great start to the new year.

Wish me luck!

 

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Sometimes Longer

I am waiting on a response from my first query for Dragon, which was sent as an exclusive submission.  (For the folks outside the book publishing world, that means just what it sounds like – the agency who has it now is currently the only one looking at it.)  The agency lists how long it takes them to respond to queries, but then adds “sometimes longer” to the end.

We’re into the “longer” at this point, and I’m starting to wonder how long I should wait.  What is the etiquette for exclusive submissions?  Do I wait an extra couple of weeks?  A month?  Is this an unspoken contract, wherein I say that it is exclusive but they say it will be within a time frame, and if that time frame passes I am free to contact other agencies?

I’m not sure.  For now, I’m tired (today was day 6 of 10 at work) so the next query letter won’t be going out any time in the next few days.  I guess I’ll ponder this situation a bit further this weekend.

Finished and Sent

I had a productive weekend!

First, I finished the revisions on the third draft of Dragon Pendant.  I’m happy with it – while it needed a little cosmetic work, none of the notes I made were changes to content.  I also polished my synopsis and reviewed my query letter.

That means the packet is complete, which also means that I submitted it!  Monday afternoon I put together a submission email for my first agency query.  It’s been sent, and I will (hopefully) hear within 6 weeks or so.  As always, I’ll let you know what I hear!

We Have a Synopsis (draft)!

Yesterday I (finally) completed my first draft of the synopsis of Dragon.  The technique that finally worked, after all of the different starts I tried, was to use the brief novel summary from my query letter along with my chapter summaries.

I was aiming for a single page, double spaced.  I let myself write past that and then went back and did an initial revision to pare it down to one sheet.  If you’ve never written a synopsis, the advice that I got was to include the end of your novel.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  An agent or a publisher needs to know that you have a complete concept.  They are used to spoilers, if you will, and are more likely to see you as a professional if you include the entire story in your synopsis.

When it comes to characters, the final verdict is that only three got named.  Those three would be protagonist, antagonist, and love interest.  Two others were mentioned specifically, albeit in passing and generically (as in “an elf”), and several got a single mention together as a team.  There’s obviously a lot more depth to the novel, but that’s the difference between 342 words and 55,000.

It’s just a draft, so I’m going to revise it at least once or twice before I submit it, but at least it’s finished.  Revising it will be much easier than writing it!

Describe it for me

I like words.  I like playing with words.  I use words in writing, in presentations, at work and in my down time.  While I sometimes struggle with the best way to phrase something, or lose a word for a minute (mundane, anyone?) but words rarely escape me.

So why can’t I ever find the right way to describe my stories for people?

Right now I’m fighting my way to a synopsis, which is proving a bit more challenging than I anticipated.  This isn’t just a current problem; when I’ve tried to give people a quick summary of the tale, I find myself struggling to capture the concept.

This seems to be mostly a problem with my own stories.  I can usually summarize a book or a movie for someone, although perhaps not as eloquently as others.  I can usually find a single sentence or two (like the short version I posted a couple of weeks ago).  It’s the longer synopsis, the one that goes to agents, that I’m finding difficult.

Maybe the answer is right here, in what I just wrote.  Maybe the trick is to think of it as someone else’s story, rather than my own.  We’ll see if that helps.

Summing it up

The agency that I want to query wants a one-page synopsis of Dragon.  I wrote the very short blurb for the query letter, as well as a more detailed (but still short and somewhat vague) paragraph about the book for the query letter.

Now I need to write an actual synopsis.

I just finished re-reading Dragon, so I should be in a good spot for writing a synopsis.  The trick is to not just list what happens, but to capture the essence and emotion of the story.  It also needs to be excellently written.  After the query letter, this is one of the only chances I get to impress the agents.

Looks like I have a new project!

 

Assembling the Packet

I’ve picked one agency to query, at least to start.  Interestingly enough, it’s the same agency that I started with for Butterflies.  That probably makes sense, because the same things that drew me to them the first time still hold true.

Tonight I pulled their submission guidelines from their website.  (As I’ve said, the website is your friend!)  Now I get to start assembling the packet.

Ok, it’s not really a packet.  The agency wants email queries, so it’s a collection of attachments.  I still have to prepare and gather my documents.

Fortunately, unlike others I’ve seen, this agency is explicit in what they want.  I’m not just talking which documents to send, or what types of fiction they want.  They are also particular about formatting, and they’ve made that very clear.  When someone is this specific about how to query them, I would hope that every query fills their requirements.  (Knowing people, that’s probably not true.  But no one can say they weren’t told.)

The next couple evenings will be devoted to preparing the documents and polishing everything! 

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